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Overall Rating

Awesome: 22.45%
Worth A Look: 8.16%
Average: 2.04%
Pretty Bad57.14%
Total Crap: 10.2%

5 reviews, 19 user ratings

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Anything Else
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by Greg Muskewitz

"As good as it will get."
5 stars

The lamentation that Woody Allen’s current crop of films, considering, that is, if current were to encompass pretty much the last decade, no longer match up to the level of filmmaking he once attained, is merely a cry that won’t bring one back to his heyday.

Year after year he delivers a project (some years spreading himself thinner than others), through which each autumn (as its been for the past few seasons), it seems his contracts aren’t lasting as long as they were. Of course, MGM has the largest collection of Allen films (three whole boxsets on DVD), and then Miramax comes next, sticking with him from Bullets over Broadway till Celebrity, and DreamWorks picking up the slack from Small-Time Crooks to this year’s release. (Although Fox Searchlight has taken over for next year’s fall release.) It’s without being pessimistic that I can say I doubt he will make a film again that matches Manhattan or The Purple Rose of Cairo, Annie Hall, or Sleeper. And to that extent, Anything Else may be the closest thing in recent years. Allen takes a backseat in the acting department, choosing instead to support Jason Biggs in the general nebbish role. (Allen to Biggs: “You chose psychoanalysis over real life? Are you learning impaired?”) A struggling comedy writer, Biggs’ love life has taken a hit to the degree that his girlfriend (Christina Ricci) can’t stand to be touched by him. Allen is also a comedy writer (“I have a theory that too much rejection causes cancer”), a sort-of mentor to Biggs, who naturally is full of wacky advice. The set up relatively fits along snugly with both major and minor Allen films, using recycled professions and retread issues, but he’s attempting to use a fresh voice. Whether he’s trying to kowtow to a younger audience to rejuvenate his own image, Allen isn’t concerned in the least how he comes off, and although he’s a bit soft on Biggs’ neuroses, he isn’t concerned, either, how the rest of the characters come off. (Accusations tend to fly freely on Allen’s caricatures of women, with Ricci and Stockard Channing as nearly Sunday comics, though you can’t honestly say that he tries to pass men off any better in his films.) Two of the oddest touches to Anything Else, huge events, really, particularly if you know anything about Woody Allen, are his featured continuous stints behind the wheel of a car — and not just any car — as well as his shocking pro-California stance. (Despite the setting of his last, Hollywood Ending, in it, he was no less cynical about the Golden State as he’s always been.) Of his past few efforts, the comedy here certainly reaches for a more intellectual angle and the blend of silly humor and intelligence make for some of his funniest writing, as well as the direction of it, in probably at least a decade. His employment of cinematographer Darius Khondji (Delicatessen, Stealing Beauty) proves wise, creating a stark contrast in the colors and shape of objects between the interior and exterior images. One of Allen’s bigger mistakes in Anything Else, and not just reducing it to the poor casting choice of Jason Biggs, is the writing choice for him to continually break the fourth wall. And as such, the worst that could be said, is that not all change is good change. With Danny DeVito, Erica Leerhsen, Jimmy Fallon, and Diana Krall.

[Absolutely to be seen.]

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 05/05/04 18:52:20
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User Comments

6/03/05 John Aster Habig funny but with mountains of other Woody films it is hard to compare 4 stars
5/28/05 Gary Some good one-liners but ultimately left me very unsatisfied 2 stars
4/18/05 Abbath Too meandering for its own good. Never settles. 3 stars
3/17/05 Chin Mu Still the Woody style, small humor stewing its heat, and give you a lesson in the end. 5 stars
2/07/05 Graham Cooper One of Woody's better recent efforts. Nice study of human relationships. Ricci is great! 4 stars
5/30/04 Monster W. Kung A rehash of Annie Hall, except crappy. 2 stars
4/20/04 Charles Tatum The cast is in over their heads, stock characters, Allen miscasts himself! 2 stars
2/15/04 Jingo P. Remember when Woody Allen was TALENTED?! 1 stars
1/21/04 Does anyone know 20-somethings like these characters? If so, do us a favor and kill them. 1 stars
12/04/03 Andrew Callaway Why god? Why? Why are you doing this to me? 1 stars
10/24/03 Jason King Funny. 4 stars
10/02/03 john i liked it 4 stars
9/30/03 Michael A true winner after some of his recent letdowns. Has an insightful message if you look 5 stars
9/24/03 nr great 5 stars
9/22/03 The F-Bomb snuck in.walked out.nuff least i didnt pay for this shit! 1 stars
9/21/03 Gary Barker bad acting, unsympathetic characters 1 stars
9/21/03 Brian Maher Best movie on the screen in YEARS!!! This one's a winner! 5 stars
9/19/03 andrey danilchenko this movie was hilarious. The jokes were funny and owrked, and the acting was outstanding, 5 stars
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  19-Sep-2003 (R)
  DVD: 06-Jul-2004



Directed by
  Woody Allen

Written by
  Woody Allen

  Jason Biggs
  Christina Ricci
  Woody Allen
  Stockard Channing
  Jimmy Fallon
  Danny DeVito

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